The rapid thawing of the arctic is revealing many new archeological finds. This work reflects upon the recently discovered prehistoric toothed arctic bird Tingmiatornis arctica which resembled a cormorant and was alive during the Cretaceous Period when the arctic had a semi-tropical climate.
In this work, we are presented at first-glance with an atmospheric scene of cormorants nest-building, bathing and flying. Smoke rising from the water and the hills make us think of mist or a forest fire; this leads us to notice the teeth of the birds and transports us back 90 million years to a time when Tingmiatornis arctica flew over the semi-tropical arctic waters and mountains, which could erupt at any moment.
I am working with paint to create pieces that reflect the placement of contemporary culture within the continuum of time. Each piece is created in layers. Starting with the archaic practice of under painting with milk-based pigment that is over painted with oil. To complete each painting is framed and covered with one or two layers of laser cut plexi. When completed each piece becomes a shallow shadow box.
I set a project for myself: I determined to try to paint each canvas to hold qualities I associate with three masters; each piece I was aiming for 1/2 Rothko, 1/4 Leger and 1/4 Kokoshka.
Not copying them by any means but trying to evoke the spirit of the combination. The quiet introspection of Rothko, the design of Leger and the organics of Kokoshka. I could spend a lifetime trying to achieve any of the above but this is how I am framing this section.
The work is printed on archival Epson Canvas with a simulated birch bark background digitally added from a birchbark scan. The work references Anishinaabe birchbark scrolls that are etched iconography stitched together with spruce root.
Bnesi (Thunderbird) and Mishibijw (Water Panther)(2020) digital output on archival canvas, glass beads, thread, hide, metal, wood. The photographs and taken on Manitoulin Island. The birch bark references Anishinaabe scrolls and the Thunderbird is a sacred bird symbolizing protection.
The Mishibijiw (Water Panther) is a water being who controls water - the waves are visible on its back.
This work is available as a diptych or as individual works.
Diptych dimensions: 81 x 38 cm.
As individual works:
Bnesi (Thunderbird)(2020) digital output on archival canvas, glass beads, thread, hide, metal, wood. 41 x 19 cm
Mishibijw (Water Panther)(2020) digital output on archival canvas, glass beads, thread, hide, metal, wood. 41 x 19 cm
Hands with Lights are perfectly square. Each panel contains images of birds and hands. Within some the hands and birds become unified with the fingers of the human hand becoming wings. With this series of paintings I have added LED lights within the upper frame. This way the cut line of the plexi subtly becomes drawings of light that flit across the surface of the painting. These paintings while meant to be shown with the lights off have the potential and option to turn the piece into a carnival event. The reflections on the plexi and the changes of composition between the plexi surfaces and the revealed painting change when viewed from various angles creating a sculptural effect.